Indeed, there were Jews in the German army in the First World War – 12,000 of them were killed in action for the Fatherland – but hands up those readers who know that, even as the Germans were fighting for their lives in 1916, the authorities undertook a "Jew census" in the army after provocations from small anti-Semitic parties in Berlin.
On the eastern front, 92,451 Russian prisoners died in German captivity. "They are not to be given water at first," a 1914 German 8th Army order read. "While they are in the vicinity of the battlefield it is good for them to be in a broken physical condition." The Untermenschen idea was already there, it seems. At least 9 per cent of Germany's 158,000 soldiers in Russian camps, it should be added, also died.
Amid such a charnel house, the Ottoman genocide of one and a half million Armenians – still outrageously denied by Turkey, although it taught Hitler how to destroy the Jews of Europe less than three decades later – provides a terrible historical continuity.
Did those German-Jewish soldiers of the First World War have the slightest inkling of what was to come? They must have known of the German army's cruelty towards civilians, even if they could not then read the words of the angry, gas-blinded corporal from the Somme who asked after the armistice: "Did all this happen only so that a gang of wretched criminals could lay their hands on the Fatherland?"
But the Armenian genocide took place far from Europe and Fisk presents no data at all regarding whether if any Jewish German soldiers, if at all, were there at the time of the killings which, I may add, were done by Turkish soldiers.